Sugar beet cooperatives in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota say yields this year could set records.
According to American Crystal Sugar, yields are averaging a bountiful 20 tons per acre, and the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative reports yields are running in the mid-20s. But that's not necessarily good news....
Since processors can handle a limited amount of the tuberous sweetener, farmers may be forced to plow some of the beets under.
That would be sacrilegious in the Corn Belt, where it's common to pile excess grain on the ground until there's room at the local elevator.
While prospects seemed good for near-record production and yields this year, the trend of late has been to cut previous estimates. Reduced corn yields were an often heard comment at this week's Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. And some notable firms also are weighing in on the matter...
In advance of next week's USDA Crop Production Report, prognosticators at various private commodity research firms have been distributing their best estimates for 2010.
The Linn Group, a commodity research and brokerage firm, cut its estimates for this fall's corn harvest by more than 100 million bushels. Originally calling for 13.1 billion bushels, officials with the Chicago-based firm now believe just over 13 billion bushels will go into the bin with a yield of 160.7 bushels per acre.
Officials at the commodity brokerage firm FCStone also cut their estimates. Down from their August guess of 13.4 billion bushels the international trading firm now believes the corn harvest will amount to 13.2 billion bushels. The reduction was reflected in their lower yield estimates of 162.9 bushels per acre.
The numbers from both firms are well below USDA's August estimates of a record harvest of 13.4 billion bushels and a record yield of 165 bushels per acre.
Adding to a two-month rally, nearby corn prices rose to a contract high on the news.
The Linn Group pegs 2010 soybean production at just under 3.4 billion bushels -- that's up 68 million bushels from their August guesstimate. The firm used the numbers to adjust its average yield to 43.6 bushels per acre.
FCStone dropped its soybean estimates from August by a small amount to just under 3.4 billion bushels which cut their yield figure to 43.5 bushels per acre.
It remains to be seen if USDA will hold to its record soybean production numbers of 3.4 billion bushels and yields of 44.0 bushels per acre.
The Agriculture Department will release its official estimates on September 10th.